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Field Notes From the Far East: China’s New Public Interest Environmental Protection Law in Action

September 2015

Citation: 45 ELR 10855

Issue: 9

Author: Yanmei Lin and Jack Tuholske

On May 15, 2015, the Nanping Intermediate People’s Court in Fujian Province conducted the first-ever Chinese trial involving environmental civil public interest litigation. The case, which concerned resource destruction and environmental restoration related to an illegal mining site, was heard under China’s new Environmental Protection Law, a strongly worded mandate that includes, among other potentially far-reaching provisions, a right of standing for nongovernmental organizations to bring environmental cases. While China’s long-term commitment to environmental protection through judicial action is not yet clear, this case, and others still pending, may one day be seen as a pivotal turning point in Chinese environmental litigation.

Yanmei Lin is an Associate Professor of Law and Associate Director at U.S.-Asia Partnerships for Environmental Law at Vermont Law School. Jack Tuholske is Director of the Vermont Law School Water and Justice Program and a Technical Advisor to the Partnerships program.

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